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Inside Drones (Sep 2nd, 2016)

Exemptions for FAA drone regulations, drones spying on cheating partners, creative anti-drone methods

A number of companies have obtained exemptions from the FAA’s new drone regulations. Intel was given a waiver allowing them to fly drones at night and put one pilot in charge of multiple drones, so they could fly a fleet of drones in a light display. Other exemptions include CNN flying drones over people for news gathering and PrecisionHawk flying agricultural drones beyond line of sight. - TECHCRUNCH

AT&T plans to use drones to inspect cell towers in Seattle. The company will be phasing in its first drone program in September, and recently gave a demonstration at Husky Stadium to show how the drones can be used to test signal quality and inspect hardware. AT&T’s Art Pregler said the new FAA regulations “make it much easier on us.” - SEATTLE TIMES

People are using drones with cameras to find out if their partners are cheating on them. Peter Walzer, a California family law specialist, says that an increasing number of people have used drones to spy on their significant others, to the point that many states are working on legislation to stop the practice. Walzer says it probably falls under the definition of stalking and could be grounds for a restraining order. - BRAVO

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NASA and NOAA flew an unmanned drone through Hurricane Hermine, which is expected to eventually reach the U.S. The Global Hawk drone flew at altitudes of up to 60,000 feet, measuring things like wind speed and air pressure. The aircraft is capable of staying with the storm for 16-20 hours, gathering data that can improve weather forecasts. - NECN

Companies are coming up with inventive ways to help customers get rid of intruding drones. ApolloShield in Palo Alto has created a $30,000-per-year device that uses radio waves to prevent small drones from flying overhead. It picks up the drone’s remote control signal and allows users to send the drone away without crashing it. Other anti-drone methods include jamming their navigation systems with an intense signal, firing net guns at them and even sending up trained eagles. - BLOOMBERG

South Australia has set new rules about drone use in national parks after reports that drones were disturbing native birds. Drone operators will now need a permit to fly in national parks like Eyre Peninsula and Kangaroo Island. The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources said there has been an increase in drone use in parks in the last year. - NEWS.COM.AU

After Business Insider tracked down Amazon’s secret drone testing site in England, the company built a wall of hay bales around it to stop people from looking. Two weeks earlier, a reporter traveled to Cambridge and hiked through the countryside until he found the location. MailOnline reported the wall of hay is three or four meters tall and designed to conceal the site from view. Amazon has not confirmed the site and has declined to comment about the hay. - BUSINESS INSIDER

FROM THE FORUMS

While we’re on the topic of ways to get rid of unwanted drones, you might consider this video of a girl knocking one out of the sky with a golf ball, featured on the Drones subreddit today.

galaxy1004 said, “I hate to say it but I’ve read this is fake,” and bonestamp agrees: “There are probably lots of things to point out, but for starters… wouldn’t it likely go down to the left if a rotor on the left was lost? Side note, that kid has a great swing!” sretih adds, “Hey! That drone just screwed up a perfect drive right down the middle of the fairway!”

In another thread, bubblitious needed advice for a problem that drone operators should keep in mind: drones getting stranded on someone else’s property. “On Tuesday, August 30th, I ended up losing signal with a return to home altitude that was too low and caused my drone to crash on a building (160 ft high). I met a security guard who was cool enough to go out of his way to check the roof where he is not allowed to be and has confirmed the drone is on a ledge which is difficult to access (need a ladder etc) but would not provide me with the picture he took to prevent losing his job. The property management is very rude and unhelpful. They said they have looked all over the roof and did not find it. I was told if I come on property for it I will be trespassed/arrested.”

ShimmyFish advises, “Remain a thorn in their side. Be apologetic, but be persistent in reclaiming your property. Speak with the property management or the tenants whose roof space it is and see what it would take to retrieve it. They see it as an annoyance to have to help you out for no reason, but they'll be happier to have you out of their hair if you really bug them about it.” 3dxl writes, “Well you can say that ‘it has a Lithium Polymer battery strapped inside, i need to retrieve it asap before it burst into flames.’ I'm sure they will let you get your drone back because they don't want something risky hanging on top of their roof. Btw why did fly in area full of tall buildings, you should plan and anticipate future risk before flight. Bad flight planning bro.”

THE BIG QUESTION
Should local authorities be doing more to stop drones from "trespassing" on private property?

Hit "Reply" and let us know what you think, and we'll publish your answers in the next edition of Inside Drones.

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